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Febrile seizures: mechanisms and relationship to epilepsy.

  • Author(s): Dubé, Céline M
  • Brewster, Amy L
  • Baram, Tallie Z
  • et al.
Abstract

Studies of febrile seizures have been driven by two major enigmas: first, how these most common of human seizures are generated by fever has not been known. Second, epidemiological studies have linked prolonged febrile seizures with the development of temporal lobe epilepsy, yet whether long or recurrent febrile seizures cause temporal lobe epilepsy has remained unresolved. To investigate these questions, a model of prolonged (complex) febrile seizures was developed in immature rats and mice, permitting mechanistic examination of the potential causal relationships of fever and seizures, and of febrile seizures and limbic epilepsy. Although the model relied on hyperthermia, it was discovered that the hyperthermia-induced secretion of endogenous fever mediators including interleukin-1beta, which contributed to the generation of these 'febrile' seizures. In addition, prolonged experimental febrile seizures provoked epilepsy in a third of the animals. Investigations of the mechanisms of this epileptogenesis demonstrated that expression of specific ion (HCN) channels and of endocannabinoid signaling, may be involved. These may provide novel drug targets for intervention in the epileptogenic process.

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